Donald Featherstone touched lives, created a cultural icon, and made people smile. That sounds like a pretty good life and legacy to me.
I have to utter thanks one more time as he is laid to rest; he passed away a couple days ago. Pink flamingos are iconic in and of themselves. But the plastic ones are more so. He invented these.
Created at the height of the post-WWII baby boom, in 1957, the same year I was born and the same year that Sputnik launched, the pink plastic lawn ornament captures the essence of an era it helped to create. Or at least it captures one essential view of the era.
To me the prototypic 1950s image conjured up by the word retro is an image of a platinum blonde woman wearing pointy frame glasses, a wasp-waist full-skirted dress, emerging onto steps from an Airstream travel trailer onto a perfectly manicured lawn decorated with pink flamingo lawn ornaments.
Such pink flamingo lawn decorations served as trail markers for the path at the top of Mount Lemmon to Lemmon Meadow where my husband and I exchanged wedding vows in June of 1989. I wore a flamingo pink dress. We loved retro kitch! The bathroom in our first home was “the flamingo room” that iterated the theme in the shower curtain, the toilet plunger, towels, framed pictures, and just about every bath-related product that friends could find and buy for us from a Five and Dime or touristy gas station souvenir shelves with a flamingo image.
We have always had a few flamingos displayed in our home. There is a gorgeous, well-framed professional photograph of a flamingo that was a wedding gift. An Audubon print of a flamingo is in my hubby’s study.
We took a pink flamingo with us to Niagara Falls to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary.
Is it accidental that Donald Featherstone had a bit of surname determinism playing out in his life? I suspect not.
Yes, this ad leads to an Amazon listing where you may purchase a Featherstone Flamingo.